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The Discourse of Investability in Latin America’s Energy Transition

Authors: Rebecca Pearl-Martinez*, Durham University
Topics: Energy, Economic Geography, Latin America
Keywords: financialization, renewable energy, energy justice
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Latin America is increasingly portrayed by financial actors as one of the most attractive frontiers for investment in renewable energy. To generate interest, financial and state actors carry out political work to create bankable opportunities. They engage in the creation of a spectacle (Tsing 2000), use calculative mechanisms such as indexes to deliver selective information (Li 2014), and build discursive framings in service of acquiring land (Billon & Sommerville 2017). This approach to financing the region’s energy transition fuels a process of financialization in which corporate energy giants are now dominating the region’s renewable energy infrastructure. In the context of historical dependencies emerging from power sector reform and significant energy poverty, a cultural economy lens on the region’s energy transition calls into question the prospects for socially just decarbonization pathways. This paper explores how financial instruments such as auctions that deploy utility-scale solar and wind projects in Latin America are constituted, the discursive and material work they carry out, and consequences for the relationship between state and capital.

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